Original Post: 2014 Updated 1/16/2020
There may be some who have heard the word backslider but are not quite sure of the meaning of the word. Backsliding refers to someone who lapses into previous undesirable patterns of behavior; to revert to sin or wrongdoing, especially in religious practice; to lapse into bad habits or vices from a state of virtue, religious faith. Synonyms for backsliding include relapse, slip, weaken, go wrong, stray, lapse, revert to old habits, fall back, degenerate, slip back to old ways, regress, go astray, and retrogress.
What does the Bible say about the word backslide? In describing Israel’s negative behavior, God, in Hosea 4:16 said:
16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer.
It doesn’t sound like God is very pleased with the backslider.
Luke 9:62 (KJV) lets us know that we are not even supposed to look back once we are saved.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
There are some people who may disagree that they are in a backslidden condition, although they fit the criteria of someone who has gone backward. They may say, “I’m not backslidden, I’ve just gotten seasoned in the way.” They don’t pray, praise or worship like they used to. When everyone else is seeking God during Prayer Service, you may find them laughing and talking to others so loudly that their conversation actually disturbs those who are praying. They have become so cold in their relationship with Christ that they are almost frozen… yet, they don’t seem to know that they are far from God.
What kinds of other things do people do when they are in a backslidden state? They begin to pick up little things that they were delivered from. Let’s look at some of the warning signs of an Official Backslider.
a. Suddenly they see no harm in going to the clubs or their old haunts, whereas, when they were saved, they would never have stepped inside those doors.
b. Some may begin to have a little wine before dinner or at bedtime to, you know, help them sleep better.
c. Some may start to pick up some of those old songs that they were delivered from. You know… the kind you used to “groove” to; the ones that take you back to your “weed” and “coke” days. Watch out. You’re going backward.
d. Others may find themselves reading the old love stories and viewing the sexy TV programs that they had put down.
e. Your soul is in danger if you find yourselves sneaking over to the porn sites on the computer out of “curiosity”. Careful, you’re opening the wrong door.
f. Be forewarned. If the cussing on the TV shows that you watch no longer offends you when it used to, check yourself.
g. While you may not have picked up smoking again, watch it if you just enjoy the smell of it. When others smoke you just s-n-i-f-f a little smoke in.
The danger for the ladies exists if your dresses get shorter while your skyscraper heels get higher. Your lips get redder; your eyes get blacker; your lashes get longer and your nails get bejeweled. Your ear lobes sprout danglers and your cleavage just happens to get a little deeper. Your “church hugs” with the brothers get tighter and last longer and underwear is no longer a part of your wardrobe.
Men, be alerted if your pants get a little tighter and a little more revealing. You re-discover muscle shirts and your chest hairs suddenly are publicly displayed. Jewelry finds its way into your wardrobe and, when “Mack Daddy”, “Mr. Smooth” or “Sugar Daddy” becomes your new nickname you are not offended. Do you no longer enjoy spiritual programs on TV because you bought the “All-Sports package”? Has it ever happened to you that, on a Sunday when a special game is scheduled that you suddenly wake up too sick to go to worship service, but, when the game comes on at 11:00 you’re miraculously healed? Have you forgotten that God gave you a neck so that you can turn your head when a scantily clad woman passes by? Backsliding is lurking at your door. You may not be all of the way out of God, but you’re well on your way.
Parents, you are backsliding if you lose your ability to control the ungodly requests of your children. You knew well enough when other parents were over-indulging their teen children, didn’t you? Why is it that now that your child is a teen that suddenly you no longer know how to say, “No” to dating at 13?
Warning to the former prayer warriors. You’re backsliding if you no longer get up when God calls you to prayer and intercession and you just can’t do the fasting thing anymore. Is the dust on your Bible so thick that you could write your name on it? Have you stopped interceding for the lost? Have you lost your vision to help sinner men and women to be saved? Has it been so long since you’ve witnessed to someone that you don’t know what to say when God tries to nudge you to tell someone about Jesus? Do your co-workers no longer mind cussing around you? Are you laughing at their ungodly jokes? Has a truly saved person tried to witness to you because they did not know that you were a Christian?
If you have found any of these signs in your life you are either at serious risk of becoming or have officially crossed over from Sainthood into “Aint-hood” and you are not on your way to Heaven. You have left your first love and when the Rapture takes place you will not be taken in the number with the Saints. True, you may be going through some of the motions of Christianity, but in your heart of hearts, you know that you are not saved. You are functioning in a “perfunctory” (careless, dull or indifferent) fashion, but your heart is just not in it. The Bible lets us know that we have the responsibility for the salvation of our souls. If you are trying to coast on the things that you have done in the past, remember that you cannot “game” God. You are a fake and a phony and you must get right before it’s too late. Repent quickly and do your first work over. Revelation 2:5 (KJV) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
God just may have His spiritual eraser poised over somebody’s record in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He could be just minutes away from erasing your name. If you know that you are in a backslidden state, get right with God and do it quickly. God bless.